Fortune Favors the Filipina: 8 Empowering Filipino Women
3.9 billion women in the world, with each more than capable of making change. The fight for women’s rights has been a grueling journey to say the least. But here we are today, in a world where women make transformations and innovations everywhere we look.
In honor of National Women’s Month and International Women’s Day last March 8, we bring you 8 Filipino women who have empowered a whole nation. From actresses, singers, Olympic athletes, journalists, mountaineers, pilots, and heroes in history, each individual on this list proves that you can be more than who people say you are.
Fulfilling Dreams with UNICEF
Anne Curtis has been an advocate for children together with UNICEF for many years. In 2017, Anne launched the Dream Machine, a platform where people can send their dreams, and those dreams can be made into reality with the help of those who can make them possible.
Among the many dreams fulfilled were additional classrooms in General Roxas Elementary School in Quezon City. In addition, the actress-host also founded the “Heroes for Children Run” in 2015 to help promote and fund UNICEF’s 1,000 Days of Life campaign, benefiting children’s health and nutrition in their first 1,000 days on Earth,
The Voice that Serenaded the World
When it comes to Filipinos who have reached international stardom, Lea Salonga has to be on top of people’s minds. Among her accolades include a Tony Award for her role in Miss Saigon, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Theatre World awards, and Grammy nominations. She was also the first Asian to play Eponine in the musical Les Misérables, and the first Asian woman to be awarded the Laurence Olivier award.
In addition, the singing sensation is recognized by many fans as the singing voice of Jasmine from Alladin and Fa Mulan in Mulan and Mulan II, giving her the title “Disney Legend ” because of her iconic portrayal of both Disney princesses. She has continued to star and judge in several television shows, sell out international tours, and perform in countless Broadway musicals.
A Beacon of Strength
As moving as her performances on-screen, Angel Locsin has consistently been influential off-screen through her never-ending fight for the rights of women and children. She has worked with women’s group Gabriela, served as a Philippine Red Cross Ambassador, and engaged in relief operations and raising of funds for the victims of Typhoon Ondoy and Typhoon Yolanda.
She has constantly been praised for her grounded personality in the way she interacts with people, which shows in her eagerness and commitment to support her community.
The Gold Standard
Successfully lifting 97 kilograms in snatch and 127 kilograms in the clean-and-jerk, Hidilyn Diaz won the first gold medal for the Philippines in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The whole world watched as she burst into tears after her perfect execution, showing the years of dedication, perseverance, and even failure which all amounted to that one moment.
Her road to Olympic gold serves as an inspiration to all, but most especially to the young female athletes who aspire to perform in the world’s grandest sporting events one day.
A Pioneer in Aviation
Considered as the first female pilot in Asia, Aimee Carandang was the first Filipina commercial pilot and the first Filipina captain for the Philippine Airlines. As a pioneer in the aviation industry, Carandang has inspired women from all over the world, with the number of lady pilots continuously growing ever since.
At the Top of the World Stands a Pinay
Climbing her way as the first Filipina to reach the peak of the world’s seven summits is mountaineer, adventurer, and Philippine Coast Guard officer Carina Dayondon.
From growing up climbing trees in Bukidnon, to reaching the highest peaks in Southeast Asia, and competing in sport climbing and adventure racing, Dayondon eventually accomplished a feat that most mountaineers could only dream of; reaching the peaks of the world’s seven summits, and being the first Filipina to ever do so.
Fearless in the Face of Scrutiny
The CEO, cofounder, and president of Rappler became the first Filipino Nobel Peace Prize Laureate in 2021. Despite the multitude of barriers and backlash that she has received from the public, her journey in defending freedom of expression, democracy, and human rights continues to create waves of change and echoes of truth towards the minds of every individual.
Maria Josefa Gabriela Silang
A Lionhearted Henerala
The blueprint for most Filipina leaders and heroes, Maria Josefa Gabriela Silang is the first Filipina to lead a revolt against the Spanish colonization in 1763. Silang took over the revolution after her husband was assassinated. For four months, Silang led the revolt against the Spaniards which earned her the nickname “Henerala”.
Through centuries, Silang and her heroic deeds served as a symbol of fearless leadership by Filipino women through periods of colonialism in the Philippines.
The names on this list are only a fraction of the billions of women that continue to make change in the world today and inspire women of all generations. By breaking barriers and changing narratives, it goes to show that in whatever stage in life you may be in, nothing and no one can hold you back towards what you aspire to become.